200 Days in the Life of the College

Friday, January 28

She’s waiting at Hamilton’s front door

By Nick Stagliano ’11

Coming to Hamilton in 2004 from Babson College in Massachusetts was, for Monica Inzer, moving home. While growing up in nearby Sherrill, N.Y., Inzer often came to Hamilton for sporting and cultural events. “I grew up thinking that this is what a college should be,” she says.

Today, as vice president and dean of admission and financial aid, Inzer feels much the same as she works with admission colleagues to select Hamilton’s 200th class from a record number of applications. “Every year, but especially this one when we’re celebrating our rich history, it is an honor and a privilege to admit Hamilton’s future,” she says.

After graduating from Skidmore College, Inzer began her admission career before computers and cell phones played any significant role — and before the “Common App” was even common, let alone online. Today, tweets and Skype interviews with prospective and admitted students — as well as airtime on WHCL, the College radio station — are part of her routine.

Inzer also has seen the diversity of incoming students grow steadily — from 14 percent in 2003 to 22 percent of the Class of ’14. But in her view, diversity is not just ethnic but geographic, economic and cultural as well.

Highly regarded nationally in the world of college admission, Inzer has had a lot to do with bringing about those changes. In 2007, she succeeded in eliminating merit-based aid at Hamilton, because “having scholarships for the most qualified candidates who needed financial aid was more important than offering money to those who didn’t.” But the proudest moment of her professional career came in 2010, when Hamilton pronounced itself fully need-blind. “It just didn’t feel good to have to make admissions decisions based on students’ ability to pay,” she says.

“It was the right thing to do.”